Why Manchester is the new creative epicentre of neo-soul and hip-hop
New Boston and Berlin-based start-up Millennium craft an angular, polished electronic sound, with an enticingly wayward pop aesthetic running throughout. There’s also a strong visual element to their work – one informed by the cold, efficiency-obsessed bloodlust of the corporate world.
The first introduction to their sound came with the free-to-download ‘Millennium Start-Up Kit’, coming with a “30 day free trial”, with “three compositions and 1 digital booklet”. Now, the excellent Berlin/London label Greco-Roman will release their ‘Terms & Conditions’ EP next week. It’s available to pre-order now over on iTunes, but Dummy are chuffed to be able to offer you an exclusive first listen to it. Stream it below, and then scroll down to read our interview with Norman and Ville.
Hi, Millennium! Could you introduce yourselves to Dummy readers?
We are a Berlin and Boston-based music partnership. Our expertise is electronic pop music.
How’s the millennium going for you so far?
Ville: It’s not always easy in the jungle of all the thousands of new acts. Despite that we’ve met the growth expectations we set for ourselves. And we’re preparing for the launch of our first record.
Is there some nostalgia for the Y2K era in your work, or is it a historical moment you draw particular inspiration from?
Norman: We’re not really about Y2K as a time frame. The general topic is professionalism, overly dynamic, efficient and reliable aspects of daily life. Something so overused that it becomes generic and soulless. But as artists we are supposed to be “from the other side”, being exciting, extraordinary and full of life. So we slip into the looks of our assumed opponents and see what happens. In the 50s that was called détournement: turning the behaviours of the system against itself. It’s more fun than just being different.
Ville: Both Finland (that’s where I am from) and Berlin where I live now are in a crazy start-up frenzy. It’s almost like a religious cult desperately looking for an idea that could be blessed by the angels. And it feels like it’s the same over-professionalism and marketing vibe is infecting the music industry.
Your work calls on web-based imagery, and the forming of online corporate “identities”. Do you think these themes also serve as a major influence in your sound?
Ville: As said earlier the whole theme gravitates to the corporate world and the contradiction of so-called “unique” ideas being represented in a very generic and polished way. Our music can occasionally also draw something from that world but we haven’t limited it to only covering those subjects.
Norman: Actually I think with the music we’re trying to do the opposite and be very diverse. Within the tracks, probably within the upcoming releases, sometimes even inside of one track throwing together very different elements. Many artists are trying to have a very consistent output, becoming a brand. It’s a marketing of filling one little spot which often becomes very boring.
Who are you listening to the most right now?
Norman: I am excited about the new wave of electronic songwriters such as Julia Holter or Laurel Halo. Electronic music, abstract and blurry at times but combined with vocals. The Julia Holter album is fantastic. I like things that are weird but still catchy. Ville, I see you adding an estimate of 50 songs to your iTunes every day, what are you listening to today?
Ville: I’ve had a period of mainly listening to hip-hop.
What do you do when you’re not making music and online identities?
Ville: I have another music project called Renaissance Man, and before shifting most of my time to music I’ve been working on architecture and design. That is a world that I still also follow quite a lot.
Norman: I have released three albums as a solo artist. But also I studied visual communication and work in graphic design.
As well as the EP out on Greco-Roman, what else can the world expect from the Millennium project in 2013?
Norman: We’re looking forward to sustained growth. We will play shows as Millennium soon. Also we’re working on new material in Berlin right now. And we will shoot a new video.